Grub Street, 1st ed., 2000. Vi + 234 pp., maps + photo-plates. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. This is an account of Spitfire operations from Malta during 1943, culminating in the invasion of Sicily which spanned 39 days between 10 July and 17 August. The last bombs fell on Malta on the night of 26 / 27 July as the Luftwaffe made one final attempt to disrupt the invasion forces, but by then it was too late – it was the beginning of the end of the Axis empire in the Mediterranean. Joined by American air forces Malta’s Spitfires provided escort to bomber raids and diversionary sweeps as the tempo increased. Fierce air battles occurred during June and July as the Germans and Italians bitterly resisted to the limit of their meagre resources, but four days into the battle surviving Axis fighters were forced to withdraw to the mainland in readiness to fight the next round, having conceded victory to the Allies in the skies over Sicily. Malta’s Spitfires played a major role, the British and Commonwealth pilots, aided by three squadrons of the American-flown Spitfires operating from Gozo, claiming some one hundred enemy aircraft shot down between 10 and 14 July alone. This is their story, told for the first time.